Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Jackson Avenue, Queens, May 2007

My brother wants to collaborate with me on a book. He thinks we should write about our childhoods, each from our own perspective, which would indeed be interesting because we're very different people and we remember such different things. But I'm not sure anyone would buy it!

He advanced this idea because - in today's world of overscheduled, overprogrammed children - he thinks our childhoods were somewhat idyllic. We were latchkey kids, particularly him, and we had a huge degree of freedom after school to ride our bikes and crash around through the woods and just be kids. We were members of some groups, I the Boy Scouts and he the Little League, but mostly we kept ourselves amused.

He believes we could illlustrate the value of imagination, why it's best to just let kids do their own thing. Plus we have some crazy episodes to recount.

I'm not sure about this book from a commercial standpoint, but I'm actually already a step ahead of him. I've kept a journal nearly my whole life, and one day I began thinking about the inevitable baggage (photo above) contained in my daily journal. Journals tend to be pretty raw, filled as they are with unedited, immediate reactions to situations and people. I decided to write a public account of my life and then destroy my old journals.

So I took step 1, but I never took step 2. (At least not yet.) I have a short memoir of sorts which I always figured I'd just pass on to my niece and whatever other descendants my family produces.

So I told my brother, sure, I'll write a book with you, but we should do it for our family. If it turns out to have commercial possibilities, that's great - but we shouldn't count on that. We should do it for our own newer generations.

I'm going to start by sending him what I've already written. We'll see!


  1. What a great idea! I like the reflective quality of the two stories. It's like tellling a story from both sides of a mirror. Cool!

    Don't throw away your journals. When you're a cranky old man, you'll get such tremendous kicks out of reading the raw stuff of your life. personal journals are treasures, not garbage!!

  2. Good morning Steve. A couple of years ago when my father was dying, my youngest and only surviving brother and I spent a lot of time together caring for Dad. He is almost seven years younger than me and it was funny how he remembered our growing up years so differently than did I.

  3. Bravo! Reflection is always powerful, as are stories (true ones most especially), and as a book written by two brothers it'd have a unique perspective. That being said, I'd not likely buy it - though that says nothing about it's value, but more about the kinds of things I personally like to read.

  4. Putting together something like this in conjuction with your brother is a great idea. Especially from a family point of view, there's always some-one who is interested in family history.

    Ms Soup

  5. a good idea no matter what the outcome... I always thought my childhood was pretty happy because we were left on our own a lot, which made me very happy I was always exploring everyplace--forbidden neighborhoods hanging out with strange new kids or reading books . But my sister called us neglected and saw it as misery.


  6. steve-- if you read the book "sometimes a great noton" the story is told from each character's perspective--this makes it a long book, and unusual, but insightful.

  7. sometimes a great notion by Ken kesey.